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Voluntary Associations, Individual Liberty, and Democracy

Voluntary Associations, Individual Liberty, and Democracy Peter Frumkin° In American society, there are usually thought to be two ways to provide communities with the services they require. The first is to let the business sector take care of the need by having private companies provide the service at a competitive price. A second way is for the state to intervene and supply the desired service, which is a common outcome in the case of public goods. What often goes unexamined, however, is the fact that there exists a third option, one that is neither guided by the profit motive nor by the dictates of government policy. This option involves the creation by individuals of voluntary associations aimed at fulfilling social needs through the process of collaboration and mutual aid. What is a voluntary association? It is a non-profit, non-governmental, private group that an individual joins by choice. Members of voluntary associations are not born into them as they are into families, nor are individuals drafted into such associations as in the case of the military, nor are they required to join them in order to make a living, as they are in the c a s e with s o m e unions. Instead, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines de Gruyter

Voluntary Associations, Individual Liberty, and Democracy

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 1993 by the
ISSN
2194-5799
eISSN
2153-1552
DOI
10.1515/jeeh-1993-0102
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Peter Frumkin° In American society, there are usually thought to be two ways to provide communities with the services they require. The first is to let the business sector take care of the need by having private companies provide the service at a competitive price. A second way is for the state to intervene and supply the desired service, which is a common outcome in the case of public goods. What often goes unexamined, however, is the fact that there exists a third option, one that is neither guided by the profit motive nor by the dictates of government policy. This option involves the creation by individuals of voluntary associations aimed at fulfilling social needs through the process of collaboration and mutual aid. What is a voluntary association? It is a non-profit, non-governmental, private group that an individual joins by choice. Members of voluntary associations are not born into them as they are into families, nor are individuals drafted into such associations as in the case of the military, nor are they required to join them in order to make a living, as they are in the c a s e with s o m e unions. Instead,

Journal

Journal des Économistes et des Études Humainesde Gruyter

Published: Mar 1, 1993

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